Midland Metro, a tram system operated by National Express, a subsidiary of Travel West Midlands, has been granted a £130 million package for completing developmental milestones.
The company has entered into an agreement with Centro, a UK based organisation operating bus and rail transport, for a partnership to implement various improvements for its passengers.
The initiatives for better customer service include increased frequency and capacity with the addition of 20 new, larger trams, introduction of Smartcard technology, upgrading of existing tram stops, ways to deal with metal and cable theft, and offering more Park and Ride facilities to commuters.
Centro chairman, Cllr John McNicholas, said, ‘The Metro is the region’s most reliable and punctual form of public transport and already offers passengers an excellent service.
Yet this new agreement cements the commitment of our two organisations to bring passengers even more benefits and to work closely together as the system undergoes some exciting changes, not least the return of trams to the streets of Birmingham.’
The new fleet of larger trams will be introduced into service in 2014 and will increase the frequency of the service to 10 trams an hour during the day. The 20 new trams and upgrade of the stations will cost around £128 million.
Peter Coates, the managing director of National Express UK Bus, said, ‘This new agreement will see big customer experience improvements to an already industry leading service. It is also great news for the region with 1,300 extra jobs being created and a £50million a year boost to the economy.’